This broccoli pesto pasta is the most delicious way to get your veggies in. It’s easy to make, vegan, ready in just 30 minutes, perfect as is or with grilled chicken or salmon!
If you have a goal to eat more veggies, but you’re one of those people who can’t stand the taste, this broccoli pesto pasta is just the recipe for you!
I swear it tastes absolutely nothing like broccoli, but you get a generous serving of veggies in just from eating pasta. Plus, it’s made with cashew parmesan so it’s completely dairy free and vegan.
Homemade pesto is also just a million times better than store bought. Partially because store bought pesto is so expensive, but also because you have control over the ingredients and flavors so you can make it exactly as you like.
You can make it spicy, add extra vegetables like with this recipe, go low on the salt, or whatever you like!
The best part about this recipe is you can serve it hot or cold! I like it hot in the warmer months with some chicken, but in the summer it’s delicious as a pasta salad with extra arugula, fresh tomatoes or other veggies thrown in the mix.
How to make broccoli pesto
Cook pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions.
Steam broccoli. Add the chopped broccoli florets to a pot with about an inch of water and cover. Steam for 5-10 minutes or until just fork tender. Drain off the excess water and let cool for 5 minutes.
Blend. Once the broccoli has cooled slightly, add to a food processor along with all remaining ingredients. Process until smooth.
You want to avoid processing for too long since this can cause your pesto to be bitter. The olive oil can get emulsified which releases bitter tasting compounds. A quick fix is to prevent over-processing or add extra salt and a small pinch of sugar to balance it out!
Taste. Taste and adjust flavors as desired, or thin it out with more oil or a splash of water, but I like to keep it on the thicker side.
Serve. Combine the sauce with the pasta and stir to combine. Stir in a large handful of fresh arugula if desired. Top with extra cashew parmesan, red pepper flakes & enjoy!
Serve it hot or cold
The best thing about pesto and pesto pasta in general is that it can be served hot or cold! Keep it cold and add some fresh veggies for a simple pasta salad, or serve it warm with a side of grilled chicken.
If you want to go the pasta salad route, I love adding cherry or grape tomatoes and peas. Simple, but so delicious and filling.
My favorite way to enjoy this broccoli pesto pasta is alongside my lemon pepper salmon or fresh grilled chicken. Pesto pairs really well with just about any protein. Tilapia is also delicious!
If you want to keep it fully plant-based, you can stir a can of white beans into the mix to give it extra protein or just enjoy as is! You can also use a chickpea or legume based pasta for extra protein and fiber.
You can also skip the whole pasta thing and just use this pesto as a spread for sandwiches, dip for crackers or a sauce for zucchini noodles for a low carb option.
How long does it keep?
Once prepared, this pasta will keep for about 5 days in the fridge. You can store the pesto with or without the pasta, but either way it keeps best in an air tight container.
Pesto has a tendency to turn a bit brown after a little while, but the lemon juice in the sauce acts as a preservative to prevent this from happening.
What pasta is best for pesto?
I love using bow ties, rigatoni or rotini for pesto, but truly anything works! The pesto sauce clings really well to rotini, but you can also use penne, spaghetti or rigatoni.
Try these pasta recipes next!
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Broccoli Pesto Pasta
by: claire cary
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Add the chopped broccoli florets to a pot with about an inch of water and cover. Steam for 5-10 minutes or until just fork tender. Drain off the excess water and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Once the broccoli has cooled slightly, add to a food processor along with all remaining ingredients. Process until smooth.
- Taste and adjust flavors as desired, or thin it out with more oil or a splash of water, but I like to keep it on the thicker side.
- Combine the sauce with the pasta and stir to combine. Stir in a large handful of fresh arugula. Top with extra cashew parmesan, red pepper flakes & enjoy!